Do Friends Help Or Hinder Your Cause?

What do you do when you’re trying to get ninja but all your friends keep telling you to “eat more” and “get some meat on your bones”?
They mean well, of course they do, but they just don’t understand, or cant relate to, the fact that you’re trying to get lean, drop fat and gain muscle.

One of my best friends is around a size 14, and is always starting a diet. Every other month she tells me with great enthusiasm that she’s cutting out all chocolate, crisps and desserts because she wants to lose a few lbs. And it generally works. A couple of weeks later she will proudly exclaim that she’s lost 4lbs and the rest of us will all congratulate her on her achievement. I’m definitely not trying to take anything away from her – losing weight is hard and her success should be recognised, but I know that if I were to make the same announcements to my friends, I’d almost certainly get a response like “oh Yvette, you’re skinny enough already”.

So I’d feel guilty telling her that I’d lost x% body fat, like I was showing off or gloating, and so generally don’t mention it at all. There are a few comments when we’re out for dinner if I choose the grilled salmon with vegetables (leaving the potatoes on the side of the plate) “you’re so healthy, Yvette” and “I couldn’t be as strict as you”, but I’ll normally laugh it off.

Another seems to tell me on a regular basis that not only am I “all skin and bone”, but I should be eating chocolate every day like she does because “a little wont hurt”. Whilst this statement is true to a degree, it’s for that exact reason that she went on the Ducan diet for 4 weeks leading up to her holiday. She lost an amazing 10lbs in those 4 weeks, but no doubt she’ll be back to her old weight in no time and back to square one! She probably wouldn’t have needed to diet at all if she exercised a little refrain day-to-day.

I’m starting to feel like I have an eating disorder when I’m round them – hiding the fact that I eat so few processed carbs, sometimes even having something bad in front of them just so I don’t get comments. I also don’t tend to mention too much to them about how often I go to the gym (around 6 times per week). But I know I don’t have an eating disorder – they just think that a “normal” diet has to consist of bread, pasta, a dessert after every dinner, and a glass of wine every night.

I was thinking about this the other day and it made me wonder. Do people who dislike their own bodies try and convince themselves that a “healthy” diet is somehow abnormal so that they don’t feel guilty when they cant stick to one? Do people (possibly subconsciously) try and sabotage healthy diets to make their own not look so bad?

I’ve seen a few articles on it, like this one which is quite interesting: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/21/food-pushing-co-workers-make-you-fat_n_1369423.html

So, you might be thinking, “well, ARE you skin and bone? Do your friends have a point?” The answer to that is most definitely NO. I am small, granted – I’m a size 8 and 5’4 but while I have 30% body fat, I also can lift my own body weight (I managed three whole pull ups the other day) So there’s a decent amount of muscle here too. The point of my mission to get ninja is not to be any smaller. That’s not my aim. It might be a by-product of my efforts, but if I stayed a size 8, or even went up to a 10, I wouldn’t be bothered. What I’m trying to achieve is muscle definition and I really want some abs! To get abs, it’s all about diet and cardio so I’m trying to be really strict with myself, but it’s so hard when friends really cannot relate to what you’re trying to do.

I’m very lucky in that I have a super partner who can be happy for me when I finally reach my goal. He’s fit himself and understands what it takes to get a lean physique (he ripped up a few years ago and is joining me in my self-proclaimed challenge). He’s teaching me how to train, which muscles to work and when, what cardio to do, and he’s helping me with my diet and eating plans. We’re doing it all together (the protein shake breakfasts, the stir frys and omelettes for dinner, the gym sessions etc). I genuinely wouldn’t be able to manage this without him because all the comments from my friends would probably make me end up agreeing with them, that I was already “too skinny” and I’d just give up and eat that whole pack of oreos.

I also share my ups and downs on twitter. There are hundreds of you out there who can understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. A lot of you have been there and know exactly what I’m going through, and your words of encouragement and shared stories are awesome.

It’s a shame that my friends cant be happy for me, or supportive of what I’m doing, but I understand that they’re not doing it out of jealousy – they just don’t understand what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. In their eyes I already have what they regard to be a good figure. Perhaps I should explain it to them a little more, maybe it’s my own fault. But whenever I try to justify my healthy lifestyle to them, it’s almost as if they don’t want to understand and I find it easier to steer clear of the subject. Maybe they’ll feel differently if they see me in a bikini in a couple of months (in ninja shape, hopefully!!) – they might then appreciate all the effort I’ve put in has had very obvious results. Unless I feel too guilty to show them, of course…

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